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The Black Eagle Inn Mentor House

Part 2 Project 2013
Judit Soltész
Budapest University of Technology and Economics | Hungary
Most Eastern-European buildings share the turbulent, often tragic fate of their people. The Black Eagle Inn, built in the Classicist style in the centre of Székesfehérvár – itself a historical Hungarian city – is such a monument of the ups and downs of Hungarian history. It was built in the vicinity of the ancient city walls, parts of which were built into it. Before the revolutions of 1848, it was the meeting place for the city’s revolutionary youth; during the belle époque it hosted masquerade balls; in the Hapsburg-era it was home to a café and soon after the birth of cinema, a picture theatre was established here. At the approached of World War II, a shelter was set up in the building. The Inn was run by a succession of tradesman, one of whom was my great-great grandfather, Bernát Grósz, a Jewish merchant who later died in the Holocaust along with his family. His only surviving son, the Hungarian pianist and one-time disciple of Béla Bartók, József Gát grew up here. In the communist era, the Inn was claimed by the government, and was converted, first into a kind of „people’s buffet“, and later, into the headquarters of the Hungarian Defence Alliance. The once prestigious building fell into neglect and began to decay after 1995.
This status bothered the locals and the city government as well, in 2013 they have formed an association to salvage the building, I have started to work on the project because of their invitation.
The architectural challenge is threefold:
To restore the central position of the building it once held within the city’s life.
To create a design that reflects the multifunctional character of the building, instead of singling out a frozen moment of its history.
To design a new concept for the building that doesn’t only preserve the Inn’s historical significance but adds to it new values by establishing an incubator for new ideas in the form of a mentor-house that gives home to work, lodging-, and community spaces.

Judit Soltész


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